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The Roodepoort Rotary Club launched its Planet Walk programme at the Kloofendal Nature Reserve.

KloofendalTHE Roodepoort Rotary Club launched an educational programme earlier in November to teach visitors about the solar system.

The programme, Planet Walk, was inspired by a club member's visit to France, and put together with help from sponsors.

The Planet Walk features to-scale planet models mounted on quarried rocks, each of which has an engraved granite plaque describing the planet. The plaques include statistics such as distance from the Sun and size comparisons to the Earth.

Daly said: "The project works on two scales; the distances of the planets from the sun and from each other is to a scale matching the average distances in nature. The scale used is 1 m = 10 000 000 km, thus the Earth is 15 m from the Sun representing 150 000 000 km.

"The second scale is the sizes of the plants in relation to each other and to the Sun; the Sun is represented by a 2 m diameter steel tube sphere, which doubles up as a kids' climbing frame. Thus the Earth is represented by a sphere that is 17 000 times smaller than the 2 m sun."

The self-guided walk is also an ideal opportunity for teachers to show children what the solar system looks like.

Astronomers were on hand at each planet to answer questions on the day of the launch. There were filtered telescopes for the crowd to view sunspots.